What is hot, orange and headed uphill?

Okemo recently announced installation of its Orange Bubble, a heated-seat, six-pack chair, the first of its kind in New England.  And, Canyons Resort in Park City installed its Orange Bubble Quad a few years ago. I’ve taken that lift, and the warmth and orange-filtered view are nice‑especially on a bitter day.

Like riding up in a ski goggle Credit: Rob Bossi/Canyons
Like riding up in a ski goggle
Credit: Rob Bossi/Canyons

The technology gives the seats a fast charge when the chair passes through the lift terminals. Fannies and spirits are in a good mood on the way up. These seats have been popular throughout Europe for the past decade and recently started migrating to North America. Vail installed the seats on its Number One gondola about three years ago.

Heated seats on a bubble chair are a vast improvement over the heavy wool blankets worn from the 40’s to the 70’s to fight cold at Stowe, Killington, Mad River, Bromley, Aspen, Gore and Holiday Valley.  Under certain conditions, they froze cardboard stiff.  Under all conditions, they were pleasantly musty. Under no condition was your butt comfy and warm.

Scott Pierpont, SVP Sales, Doppelmayr USA, explains this emerging North American trend as providing another level of comfort beyond the bubble. His company built the lift at Canyons Resort.

Credit: Rob Bossi/Canyons
Keeping Tushies Happy Credit: Rob Bossi/Canyons

Both he and Rick Speer, president, Leitner-Poma of America, the company that built the new Okemo lift, believe that we’ll be riding on many more heated seats over the coming years.

“It’s all about skier comfort,” Speer explains. “The older you are, the more you’re going to like it.”

Why orange?  We have our theories, but what do you think?

Here’s how it looks and feels.  The spiel from the Canyons…



One Comment

  1. Dr. Gretchen Rous Besser says:

    A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of skiing in St. Moritz with Penny Pitou. As a silver-medal Olympian now in her 70s–still leading hiking and ski trips to Europe winter and summer–Penny deserves a story all to herself. That’s not my point here. In re toasty tush technology in St. Moritz, we were amazed to find the chair lift seat warmed by our own body heat.

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